ATP-sensitive potassium channels: a model of heteromultimeric potassium channel/receptor assemblies

Annu Rev Physiol. 1999:61:337-62. doi: 10.1146/annurev.physiol.61.1.337.


ATP-sensitive K+ channels (KATP channels) play important roles in many cellular functions by coupling cell metabolism to electrical activity. By cloning members of the novel inwardly rectifying K+ channel subfamily Kir6.0 (Kir6.1 and Kir6.2) and the receptors for sulfonylureas (SUR1 and SUR2), researchers have clarified the molecular structure of KATP channels. KATP channels comprise two subunits: a Kir6.0 subfamily subunit, which is a member of the inwardly rectifying K+ channel family; and a SUR subunit, which is a member of the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) protein superfamily. KATP channels are the first example of a heteromultimeric complex assembled with a K+ channel and a receptor that are structurally unrelated to each other. Since 1995, molecular biological and molecular genetic studies of KATP channels have provided insights into the structure-function relationships, molecular regulation, and pathophysiological roles of KATP channels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters*
  • Adenosine Triphosphate / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Electric Conductivity
  • Humans
  • Mutation / physiology
  • Potassium Channels / chemistry
  • Potassium Channels / genetics
  • Potassium Channels / physiology*
  • Potassium Channels, Inwardly Rectifying*
  • Receptors, Drug / chemistry
  • Receptors, Drug / genetics
  • Receptors, Drug / physiology
  • Sulfonylurea Receptors


  • ABCC8 protein, human
  • ABCC9 protein, human
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters
  • Potassium Channels
  • Potassium Channels, Inwardly Rectifying
  • Receptors, Drug
  • Sulfonylurea Receptors
  • Adenosine Triphosphate